Setting records at Hampton Downs in a Honda CR-V… no, really!
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Honda CR-V Sport 7
Fastest seven-seater around Hampton!
Sharp brakes & steering
Faster than a NZGP car*
Suspension on the soft side
Gearbox not the sportiest, even in S
That we had just one lap
Some may say why, others say why not? And in the same way that Usian Bolt doesn’t quite fit doing laps in the Olympic pool, or Janet Jackson shouldn’t sing at the Superbowl, we posed the questions that nobody asked: how quick is the Honda CR-V Sport 7 around a track? And could it set the seven-seat lap record? For the sake of having fun in a family car, with index finger pointed to the sky, and chequered flag as a cape flowing in the wind, we will answer those questions!
We know, it’s a somewhat silly venture, but this series is all about having fun in a family car, so with our friends at Hampton Downs offering us a five-minute window in the days leading up to the NZGP a few weeks back, we jumped at the opening.
So with tyre pressures totally unaltered, and just enough fuel to get us to the nearest pump (it’s a time attack one-lap qualifier, after all!), we sat the 2020 Honda CR-V Sport 7 on the startline and waited for the green light for one flying/timed lap. In a helmet; with a neck-brace. True story!
But not before downloading a lap-timing smartphone app to capture the excitement in full telemetry glory, so click the QR code to experience the awesome. And right on cue, the rain starts!
Not heavy, but just enough to take the edge off the grip, and a reminder to keep off the kerbs – not because they’re slippery, but they’d just been freshly painted for the GP.
Into Sport mode with the transmission, and the out-lap starts. Acceleration is reasonable, aided by its VTEC and turbo: 0-100km/h in 9.1 seconds and a quarter-mile in 16.6 @ 135km/h may be modest numbers, but it feels a little more eager around town, where it belongs, and normally is found.
Getting a feel for the grip on the out lap, the high profile 235/60 18-inch tyres squeal in protest through turns one, two, three, four… you get the picture.
Admittedly, the gearbox takes a little getting used to, because tapping the paddles truly manually overrides auto-shift mode, and exiting turn one it chugs along until the shift paddles tap the downshifts to drop two gears. Thereafter, the 'clicking' sound of downshifting gears is evident in the video.
Coming up to the crest into the Porsche Dipper, the CR-V’s brakes are surprisingly effective, the nose of the SUV sinking noticeably into the road as the corner drops away, the sharp steering able to hit the apex and power out towards the final sweeper. A double-apex, the Honda gets a good run onto the main straight and the numbers tick over… gradually.
Last month we bragged about 260km/h+ in the V12 Ferrari 812 GTS. This week, the Honda CR-V Sport 7 ticks over 164kmh on the speedo, or 159.8km/h on the GPS speed – let’s call it 160km/h. Please.
Braking around the 80m mark into turn one, the CR-V dances around, pushed but not punished, to produce a lap time of 1:34.0, which would have put the Honda 16th on the NZGP grid, a few seconds in front of Ken Smith.
Sure, OK, true, the Honda’s lap was around the 2.7km National circuit, while the NZGP cars were running the full 3.8km International circuit, but don’t let that ruin our click-baity headline, or Pros/Cons asterisk.
The good/bad part was that as we only had one lap, the gearbox was still sorting itself out, and needed a tap of the downshift paddles a few times to knock it down from its taller gears, so given the rain and the gears, it was hardly its best lap time. See, even in a Honda CR-V, there are excuses!
The reality was that after just turn one on the second lap, the lap timer’s delta time – the predicted time based on GPS position was already 2.5 seconds faster, and in all likelihood, in the dry, and with 2-3 more laps to get the braking points sorted, there is easily a sub 1m:30s lap time in our CR-V, for those wondering. So probably no-one.
So we cooled it off, and brought the Honda into pit lane, as our time was up, our fuel was low and our appreciation for Hampton Downs was high, allowing us the amusing spectacle of having fun in a family.
So with some fuel burnet up and a lap time of 1m:34s put down, DRIVEN can officially claim the fastest lap time record for a seven-seat SUV around Hampton Downs. At least until someone tells us they’ve gone faster.
That ‘was’ fun! And we have even more fun to come.
2020 Honda CR-V Sport 7
ENGINE: 1.5-litre petrol turbo four-cyl VTEC
GEARBOX: CVT, FWD
0-100KM/H: 9.1 secs (tested)
0-400M: [email protected]/h
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